21 May 2002
IWC Majority Supports SP Whale Sanctuary, But Pro-Whaling Countries Prevent Its Adoption
Conservation Minister Sandra Lee says New Zealand and Australia today obtained an increased number of votes in support
of their proposal to adopt a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary, but again fell short of the 75% vote requirement.
Ms Lee said the voting at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Shimonoseki, Japan, was 24 votes in favour and
16 votes against.
"I am pleased that given the odds and strong lobbying against sanctuaries, we retained a substantial majority for our
proposal today," Ms Lee said.
"We not only retained the support of all those countries who had voted in favour of the sanctuary in 2000 and 2001, but
we also picked up four new votes, and there were other subtle shifts in our direction."
"A number of countries spoke very highly of our work in promoting the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary, and I particularly
appreciated the representations made in our support by Latin American nations.
"This vote indicates that our continuing efforts, and those of non-IWC members in the South Pacific who have recently
declared whale sanctuaries in their Exclusive Economic Zones, are worthwhile.
"In my experience, conservation outcomes are not always easy to achieve, but good things often take time.
"Support for the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary is building and there could be no doubt in the mind of any delegate this
year that the sanctuary has strong backing from the countries of the South Pacific.
"We need to be patient and prepared to stay in for the long haul. New Zealand will continue to work with our Pacific
Island neighbors on ensuring the great whales of our region are protected not only in their feeding grounds in the
southern ocean but also in their pacific breeding grounds," Ms Lee said.
Other countries supporting the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary were Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Finland,
France, Gabon, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, South Africa, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the U.S.A.